Department store chain John Lewis posted a 14.8% sales increase last week to £50.4m, when sales of fashion and home products were strong.

Despite some bad weather, 21 shops were ahead year-on-year in the week to February 27. Stores in shopping centres, such as Bluewater and Trafford, and in London were among the top performers.

Fashion and home were both up 20% year on year and there were also “great results” in beauty, separates and menswear. White goods and audio sold well. Online sales rose by 41% - fashion by 121% and home by 55%.

John Lewis head of multichannel Simon Russell, said: “We couldn’t have wished for a better start to 20101.

Sister chain Waitrose generated an 11.7% uplift to £88.9m. Tea parties once again became fashionable as the new Alice in Wonderland film premiered, the retailer reported.

Waitrose retail director Tony Solomons said there had been a 28% rise in sales of large cakes and small cakes were up 37%. Loose leaf tea was up 19% and cream scones and strawberry jam up 25%.